Trouble is brewing on the Internet, where Wikipedia has signaled what might be coming with a series of warnings about the pending Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
Now it appears that Wikipedia, which has threatened to shut itself down in a protest against the legislation, may be just the tip of the iceberg. MSNBC reports: “Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga … and … Etsy, along with other Internet-based companies [may] take a ‘nuclear option’ and ‘go simultaneously dark’ in protest of the bill, and to ‘highlight the fundamental danger the legislation poses to the function of the Internet.’”
The story cites a piece by ExtremeTech, which reports: “There’s been no formal decision on the matter, and the companies in question obviously risk consumer anger and backlash over any suspension of services. There is, however, safety in numbers — and a few simple sentences identifying why the blackout is in place will ensure that the majority of the rage flows in the proper direction.”
The House Judiciary Committee is set to tackle SOPA later in January. The legislation would make the streaming of unauthorized content a felony.
MSNBC also cites a warning from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which says the bill’s "vague language would create devastating new tools for silencing legitimate speech all around the Web." Free speech and digital rights activists have joined in the fight along with a number of major Internet-based companies.
The MSNBC piece reports: “Protests against SOPA went mainstream in December when members of the Reddit community organized a protest against Web-hosting giant Go Daddy for its initial SOPA support. More than 37,000 domains were transferred as part of the "Dump Go Daddy" protest, leading the company to make a solid statement opposing SOPA.”